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Medical students go rural

Sixteen medical students are participating in placements in rural towns as part of the NSW Rural Doctors Network commitment to attracting (and retaining) medical, nursing and allied health professionals to the bush.

The NSW Rural Doctors Network, a not-for-profit, non-government organisation, develops and administers programs and services to improve the attraction, recruitment and retention of GPs, nurses and allied health professionals in regional, rural and remote areas of NSW. It also provides a central information resource for rural medical support initiatives in NSW.

The NSW Rural Doctors Network (RDN) administers the Bush Bursary and Country Women’s Association (CWA) scholarships, which provide students with $3000 for one year, during which time they spend two weeks in their sponsoring rural area experiencing work and life in a rural community.

As well as spending time with local GPs and other medical specialists, the scholarship recipients will visit allied and community health services, including the pharmacy, aged care facilities and the Aboriginal Medical Service.

The 16 students participating are from the universities of Wollongong, Sydney, New South Wales, Western Sydney, New England and the Australian National University.

Former Bush Bursary recipient Sarah Taylor, who completed her 2011 placement in Deniliquin, said, “Not only did I have the opportunity to meet community members at the Lions Club meetings and Australia Day celebrations, but through the family I was staying with I was able to meet people my own age, which was fantastic.”

Another 2011 Bush Bursary recipient, Hannah Lee, who completed her placement in Goulburn, said of her experience, “Prior to this placement, I was interested in rural practice but didn’t know much about it. Now I feel I’ve seen and experienced practising in such a setting and it is very appealing. I am definitely more certain that I’d like to practise in a rural area.”

The 14 New South Wales councils taking part in the 2012 program include Berrigan, Carrathool, Deniliquin, Goulburn Mulwaree, Griffith, Guyra, Lachlan, Leeton, Moree, Narrabri, Orange, Parkes, Tumbarumba and Yass. The Country Women’s Association is also sponsoring two students, who will be placed in Deniliquin and Narrabri.

More information about the NSW Rural Doctors Network scholarships and cadetships is available at www.nswrdn.com.au under ‘Students
& Scholarships’.